September is National Preparedness Month

The Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) has designated September as National Preparedness Month. Here are some tips from the SBA on what you need to do to prepare your business for emergencies and disasters.

National Preparedness Month is led by FEMA’s “Ready Campaign,” in partnership with The Ad Council. According to FEMA, National Preparedness Month is a nationwide effort encouraging individuals, families, businesses, and communities to work together and take action to prepare for emergencies.

Along with FEMA, the U.S. Small Businesses Administration (SBA) is also encouraging business owners, homeowners, and others to create their own disaster preparedness plan during National Preparedness Month.

To prepare for disasters, SBA offers the following tips:

Develop a solid emergency response plan. Find evacuation routes from the home or business and establish meeting places. Make sure everyone understands the plan beforehand. Keep emergency phone numbers handy.

Business owners should designate a contact person to communicate with other employees, customers, and vendors. Homeowners, renters, and business owners should ask an out-of-state friend, colleague, or family member to be a “post-disaster” point of contact, supporting the flow of information about short-term relocations, recovery, additional sources of assistance, etc.

Make sure you have adequate insurance coverage. Disaster preparedness begins with having adequate insurance coverage — at least enough to rebuild your home or business. Homeowners and business owners should review their policies to see what is or isn’t covered.

Companies may want to consider business interruption insurance, which helps cover operating costs during the post-disaster shutdown period. Flood insurance could be essential. To find out more about the National Flood Insurance Program, visit www.floodsmart.gov

Copy important records. It’s a good idea to back up vital records and information saved on computer hard drives and store that information at a distant offsite location in fireproof safe deposit boxes. Have copies/backups of important documents ready to take with you if you have to evacuate.

Create a “Disaster Survival Kit.” The kit should include a flashlight, a portable radio, extra batteries, first-aid supplies, non-perishable food, bottled water, a basic tool kit, plastic sheeting, garbage bags, cash, and a digital camera to take pictures of the property damage after the storm.

More preparedness tips for businesses, homeowners, and renters are available on the SBA’s website. 

Additional information on developing an emergency plan is available at the federal government’s preparedness website, www.ready.gov.

Disclaimer: The content on this page is for informational purposes only, and does not constitute legal, tax, or accounting advice. If you have specific questions about any of these topics, seek the counsel of a licensed professional.

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